There was a time when Ford Motor Company positioned its use of Microsoft’s Sync system as the USP for its cars. This is about to change as the US maker’s cars will soon come equipped with Amazon Echo for the infotainment system. In an industry-first move, the US company’s cars will soon come equipped with Amazon’s own Alexa as the personal assistant for the driver in the car. The general trend of the auto industry has been to offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support with their infotainment system, but this move from Ford is set to shake things up the industry.
No other maker so far has an in-car voice assistant as sophisticated as the Alexa. Sure, luxury brands such as Mercedes and BMW have presented their very own in-car voice assistants, but they have still not made it to any production versions so far. Amazon and Ford collaborating to introduce Alexa for voice assistance inside the cars is an industry-first move and is sure to serve as a major feature for the carmaker. The entire interface of Ford’s infotainment system will remain the same, and Alexa will be integrated on top of the carmaker’s existing Microsoft SYNC based interface to give the customers the feature of a voice-based personal assistance.
Talking of the voice based assistant, Amazon has been making strides in the language section for Alexa and is already working on adding new Indian languages and local dialects in order to increase the penetration of the service and add more customers. Given that Amazon is already working on including Indian languages for their Alexa, it should come as no surprise that Ford starts rolling out the new Alexa assistant feature in their Indian line-up sooner rather than later. However, there is a greater possibility that the new feature first makes its way to Ford’s domestic market – the United States.
Ford’s current infotainment system interface SYNC3 is based on Microsoft AppLink and this software itself is based on the Smart Device Link Software, which is an open-source program. As of now, the SYNC3 infotainment system also comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support and both of the services also provide voice commands as a feature. However, the voice command system offered by Android Auto and Apple CarPlay does not offer any support for controlling smart devices.
With the new Alexa being added to Ford cars, one can control the services linked to Alexa right from the cabin of one’s car. For example, the devices connected to Alexa in your home can be controlled right from the cabin of your Ford car. Apart from the usual voice commands, the users will also be able to perform navigational tasks and 30,000 skill commands offered by Amazon devices. Currently Ford offers the SYNC3 infotainment system on its entire car line-up in India, which includes Ford Mustang, Ford Endeavour, Ford EcoSport, Ford Figo and Ford Aspire.